The art of letting go: referral to palliative care and its discontents

Broom, Alex, Kirby, Emma, Good, Phillip, Wootton, Julia and Adams, Jon (2013) The art of letting go: referral to palliative care and its discontents. Social Science & Medicine, 78 1: 9-16. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.11.008

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Author Broom, Alex
Kirby, Emma
Good, Phillip
Wootton, Julia
Adams, Jon
Title The art of letting go: referral to palliative care and its discontents
Journal name Social Science & Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0277-9536
Publication date 2013-02
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.11.008
Open Access Status
Volume 78
Issue 1
Start page 9
End page 16
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Accompanying patients from active treatment toward specialist palliative care is a complex sphere of clinical practice that can be fraught with interpersonal and emotional challenges. While medical specialists are expected to break „bad news‟ to their patients and ease their transitions to specialist palliative care if required, few have received formal training in such interpersonal complexities. Furthermore, there also often exists clinical ambiguity around whether to continue active treatment vis-àvis refocusing on quality of life and palliation. In this paper we explore the experiences of twenty Australian medical specialists, focusing on issues such as: dilemmas around when and how to talk about dying and palliation; the art of referral and practices of representation; and, accounts of emotion and subjective influences on referral. The results illustrate how this transitional realm can be embedded in emotions, relationships and the allure of potentially life-prolonging intervention. We argue that the practice of referral should be understood as a relational and contextually-bound process.
Keyword Australia
Palliative care
Qualitative interviews
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online: 15 November 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 20 Nov 2012, 15:06:46 EST by Debbie Lim on behalf of School of Social Science